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Rapper Uses Minaj Beat To Target Unilever
Jack Mckeever , August 3rd, 2015 17:49

Sofia Ashraf takes the 'Anaconda' beat to call on the multinational to "make amends" for the alleged deaths of former employees from mercury poisoning

A 27-year-old Indian rapper named Sofia Ashraf has fired shots at multinational corporation Unilever in a new song in which she raps over the beat to Nicki Minaj's 2014 hit single 'Anaconda'. ‘Kodaikanal Won't’ features re-fitted lyrics calling upon the organisation to help former workers at the plant who are suffering from ongoing adverse health effects.

Unilever closed down a plant in the Indian town of Kodaikanal (hence the name) in 2001 after Greenpeace and other environmental organisations had called on the company to close the factory after allegedly discovering that tons of mercury-contaminated glass had been sold to scrap dealers in the local area, the New York Times reports. The Hindustan Unilever outlet have consistently refuted claims by former workers that ill health and dozens of subsequent deaths have been caused by the amount of toxic waste they were exposed to during their time there. These former employees have seen the company's response as insufficient, however one executive responded by saying that Unilever's reaction was an example of its "strong values and beliefs".

According to the Hindustan Times, a recent study undertaken by Chennai-based NGO Community Environmental Monitoring has proven that the decommissioned plant is still leaking mercury into the local environment.

On ‘Kodaikanal Won't’, Ashraf challenges the company to "make amends now" after failing to deal with the ongoing effects of the crisis, and is part of a wider social media campaign aimed at shaming Unilever into offering more support to their former employees and doing further research into their claims.

Nicki Minaj has also tweeted showing her support for the movement and the song. The buzz generated from the circulation of the track has garnered 23,060 signatures on a petition to force Unilever to start a clean-up operation. They only need 6,940 signatures before they reach their target.

This isn't the first time Ashraf's music has been at the centre of a social justice movement. In 2008 she released ‘Don't Work For Dow’, in which she targeted the company for its lack lustre response to the 1984 Bhopal disaster